These are some of the best brokerage firms if you are looking for online trading in multi-asset, have low capital, and require legal guarantee for your investments.
The worldwide net is awash with queries such as who are the top 10 brokerage firms? Which one is the best brokerage firm in the world? Which is the safest brokerage firm? Who offers the best brokerage account? What brokerage hedge funds use? and so on. Most people think they could avoid every pitfall and gain multiple profits simply by joining top brokers for online trading. But the fact is...just not that easy.
Let's see the answer to one query, "what brokerage hedge funds use?". Hedge funds are the "big boys" of both online and offline trading; those who hold the largest funds and may even affect the direction of price movement. So, they must have been using the best brokerage firm, right!?
FYI, hedge funds usually use private banks in order to facilitate their activities, such as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, and others. However, these top dealers would not provide online trading facilities for retail clients at the low cost that you actually need.
The fact is that the best brokerage firm in the world (whoever it is) may not be the best broker for you. You should first determine what type of trading services you are looking for, then choose the most suitable broker under the criteria. So, take this list of the best brokerage firms with a grain of salt and always do your due processes before committing any money.
What Type of Asset are You Looking for?
Are you looking to trade forex, stocks, mutual funds, futures, options, cryptos, or a mix between some of them? Each brokerage firm has its own line of assets. Some may only allow you to trade stocks. Some others will allow you to trade both stocks and forex. And so on. You should choose the right broker for your own investment preference, instead of arbitrarily choosing assets after registering a brokerage account.
The first thing you should note is that most famous brokerage firms on the net are US stock brokers. Among them are TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers, E*TRADE, and Robinhood. They are the best brokerage firms...for US stock traders.
If you are looking to trade European stocks, you should consider other firms. If you are looking to trade forex, you should also research your options again. Interactive Brokers facilitates online trading for a variety of asset classes, including US stocks and currencies, but it is not exactly the best forex broker out there.
How Much Capital are You Ready to Risk?
Every brokerage firm will ask you to deposit a certain amount of money as much as or more than their established minimum capital requirements. It could be as low as 10 dollars and as high as 100,000 dollars or even higher. The right broker for you is the one that could accept your own capital as is, instead of requiring you to go into debt merely to fulfill its capital requirements.
Brokerage firms requiring high initial deposits commonly also have high fees policies. Obviously, their services would be much more than their cheaper counterpart.
Top brokerage accounts may include advanced trading platforms, as well as real-time news streaming services, personal account managers, and more. However, beginners are less likely to make use of all of those services than an experienced professional trader. Therefore, it is advisable for beginner traders and investors to start with a low-cost brokerage account.
Do You Need Strict Legal Oversight for Your Investment Ventures, or Not?
Market regulations vary across countries. This results in a huge gap of legal oversight between highly regulated markets in advanced countries (USA, UK, etc) and loosely regulated markets in offshore island countries. The safest brokerage firms usually come from firms that operate under highly regulated countries, while the riskiest come from offshore havens.
Many beginners made their biggest mistake because they were only looking for the best brokerage firm without inquiring about its legal status. Certain brokers may be recognized as top trading providers because they are able to cut fees and have low capital requirements, but such companies are not always sufficiently regulated. If you are looking for cheap services only, then that is exactly what you will get. If you are looking for safety, then make sure to check the trustworthiness of your brokerage firm's legal licenses.
Best Brokerage Firm from Around the World
Assuming you are looking for online trading in multi-asset, have low capital readiness, and require a legal guarantee; then these are some of the best brokerage firms you. These 5 top brokerage firms would allow you to trade US stocks and forex, plus some other asset classes such as options, cryptocurrency, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments.
1. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade offers an online trading platform for a variety of US stocks, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, forex, options, cryptocurrency, mutual funds, fixed-income investments, margin lending, and cash management services. The company is a subsidiary of Charles Schwab, an American multinational financial services company that was founded in 1971. TD Ameritrade is fully licensed in the USA.
2. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers operates the largest online trading platform in the USA, but is also licensed in the UK and Singapore. An Interactive Brokers account would enable you to access stocks from 135 markets around the world, options, futures, EFPs, futures options, forex, bonds, and so on. This is the best brokerage firm for anyone looking to create a multinational portfolio. However, it has quite complicated platforms that might be more suitable for advanced traders.
Interactive Brokers is a direct market access broker that provides execution, clearance, settlement, and prime brokerage for customers. Since it was found 41 years ago by Thomas Peterffy, the company has grown internally to become one of the premier securities firms with over $7 billion in equity capital.
First acknowledged as a popular broker for advanced traders, Interactive Brokers launched a second tier of service called IBKR Lite for more casual investors in 2019.
The IBKR Lite provides services on over 125 market destinations worldwide and gives direct access (online) trade execution and clearing services, both to institutional and professional traders for a wide variety of traded products including stocks, options, futures, forex, fixed income, and funds worldwide. Interactive Brokers Group and its affiliates execute over 859,000 trades per day.
Headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, Interactive Brokers has over 1,400 employees in the USA, Switzerland, Canada, Hong Kong, UK, Australia, Hungary, Russia, Japan, India, China, and Estonia companies. IBKR is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and is registered in the New York Stoch Exchange (NYSE).
Interactive Brokers offers a wide range of product-centered tools like the OptionTrader and Probability Lab for simplified single and complex multi-leg option trading; FXTrader for forex trading, Mutual Fund/ETF Replicator for helping traders find a lower cost on ETF alternatives, also fixed-income screeners for corporate and agency bonds. Overall, trading with Interactive Brokers would be provided with the most useful and updated tools to maximize trading and investing goals.
As a popular and regulated broker in the US, Interactive Brokers has won some awards. Recently, they were awarded by the Barrons as the 2019 Best Online Broker, which is categorized as the best broker for mobile, international, and frequent traders. Besides, they also won an award as Top Performing Broker by the Preqin Service Providers, and Best Overall Broker by Investopedia (Best for Low Costs, Best for International Trading, Best for Options Trading, Best for Day Trading, and Best for Penny Stocks). The awards are not only achieved during 2019. Since 2005, Interactive Brokers has won lots of awards regarding its best services for clients.
To optimize clients' trading speed and efficiency, Interactive Brokers provides some powerful suites of trading platforms. Below is the list:
- Client Portal
A one-stop destination to check quotes and place trades, see account balances, Profit and Loss, as well as key performance metrics, funding, and reporting.
- Desktop TWS
A flagship platform designed for active traders and investors who trade multiple products and require power and flexibility. Opening an account in Interactive Brokers and using this platform allows traders to utilize the most advanced algorithms and trading tools, as well as a library of tools and asset-based trading layouts for optimum customization.
- IBKR TWS for Mobile
The IBKR TWS for Mobile is made for traders who want to easily trade and monitor their IBKR account on-the-go from either iOS or Android device (tablet or smartphone).
IBoT is a robot for finding information and placing orders using clients' own words. IBot is available on TWS for Desktop, IBKR Mobile, and Client Portal.
- IBKR WebTrader
IBKR WebTrader is made for traders and investors who prefer a simplified interface.
- IBKR APIs or IBKR Pro
This trading platform is provided especially for traders and investors who want to write their trading software or automated trading programs; third-party software users.
Overall, Interactive Brokers has always been a great choice for those who want to find out a credible and regulated broker for trading. Offering lots of trading platforms, Interactive Brokers has committed to provide their best services for both novices and professionals, since it is suited to every clients' needs.
eToro is an Israeli-based brokerage firm that focuses on providing multi-asset trading services for stocks, commodities, cryptos, currencies, indices, and ETFs. The firm enables its clients to buy real stocks on a fractional basis, so it is very suitable for beginners and low capital investors. eToro currently has licenses from half a dozen countries around the world, including Cyprus, Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.
Islamic accounts available
US traders are welcome
eToro established in early 2007, with a mission to make trading accessible to anyone, anywhere, and reduce dependency on traditional financial institutions. The company has head offices in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, USA, and Australia.
eToro (Europe) Ltd operates as a Financial Services Company authorized and regulated by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC) under license no. #109/10. Meanwhile, eToro (UK) Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the license FRN 583263.
As for eToro AUS Capital Pty Ltd, the legal standing is acknowledged by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to provide financial services under Australian Financial Services License 491139.
A broker that belongs to the 4-digit type, eToro offers both short-term options for day traders and long-term options for investors, such as their innovative CopyPortfoliosTM, a fully managed thematic portfolio.
Since 2007, eToro has been at the forefront of the Fintech revolution. The most recent was launched in 2017, which is CopyPortfolios powered by Machine learning Al. Beyond developing CopyPortfolios, the company integrated Microsoft's machine learning technology into Momentum DD.
The new CopyPortfolio investment strategy uses artificial intelligence to find the steadiest traders who are most likely to generate a double-digit return and bundle traders into one fully-managed portfolio. eToro has hundreds of financial assets for trading across several categories including stocks, commodities, crypto assets, currencies, indices, and ETFs. Each asset class has characteristics and can be traded using a variety of investment strategies.
Some positions on eToro involve ownership of underlying assets, such as non-leveraged positions on stocks and cryptos. Employing CFDs will enable a variety of options, such as leveraged trades, short (sell) positions, fractional ownership, and more. For example, traders can invest as little as USD100 in gold, even if a single unit of gold cost USD1,000. Some of eToro's most popular CFD commodities include gold, oil, natural gas, silver, and platinum.
Currencies are traded on eToro only as CFDs. Also, CFDs enable Sell (short) positions and leveraged trade, even for assets that don't offer the option in traditional trading. Some of the popular currencies include EUR/USD, GBP/USD, AUD/USD, USD/JPY, and USD/CAD.
Furthermore, An Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is a financial instrument comprising several assets grouped to serve as one tradable fund. After opening an account in eToro, traders can invest as little as USD250 in an ETF that costs USD500. Some of the popular ETFs on eToro include SPY, VXXB, TLT, and HMMJ.
However, eToro also offers additional functions using CFD trading. All leveraged ETF positions in the UK are under FCA regulations. Meanwhile, all CFD positions executed by eToro Australia are under ASIC regulations.
The company has other advantages. In all financial assets that can be traded, eToro does not charge any deposit or trading frees other than spreads.
eToro charges a USD25 fee for withdrawals and the minimum withdrawal amount is USD50. Long (Buy), non-leveraged crypto, stock, and ETF positions are not executed as CFDs and do not incur any fees. eToro does charge overnight or weekend fees for CFDs positions, such as leveraged positions and short (sell) orders.
Fee updates always apply to open positions. Fees are subject to change at any given time and could change daily, without prior notice, depending on market conditions.
As a beginner, trader can use CopyTrading eToro. Different from the features of other brokers, traders can copy the strategies of professional traders without fee or profit-sharing. Therefore, 100% profit is fully owned by traders. For example, while trader A who is copied by trader B, produces a profit of 10% this month, then trader B also gets a profit of 10%.
The company is the world's leading social trading network. Since eToro operates in complete transparency, each trader has valuable information on their eToro profiles, so other traders that are interested to copy their trades can have assistance in creating their best portfolios.
Another feature that is unique to eToro is the personalized, social News Feed. Just like on any social media, traders can post their updates on feed, comment on other's posts, and gradually create a feed that is tailor-fitted to trader's trading and investing interests. On eToro social trading platform, traders will also get notifications when a trader writes a new post and many other important updates.
Established in 2010, Pepperstone is a relatively young brokerage firm but has formed a unique business model in the industry. It offers forex trading as well as CFD on shares, indices, metals, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. Because it is a CFD Broker, buying US shares in Pepperstone does not constitute holding real shares (learn more about CFD trading here). Pepperstone currently has licenses from the United Kingdom and Australia.
Trading by telephone
Islamic accounts available
Pepperstone was founded in 2010 by a team of experienced traders with a shared commitment to improve the world of online trading. Based in Melbourne, Australia, they grew to become one of the largest forex brokers in the world. If traders want to find a broker that provides low spreads, fast execution, and award-winning support, then the answer is Pepperstone.
Pepperstone has a strong legality guarantee because it has been licensed by the Australian regulator ASIC and FCA. Traders' funds can be deposited in segregated accounts at top Australian banks, one of which is the National Australia Bank (NAB). Therefore, the safety of funds is not a concern if a trader chooses to open an account in Pepperstone.
They succeeded in collaborating with 23 top banks to bring Bid to investors instantly via optical fiber. This allows all orders to be executed 100 percent automatically with low latency up to 0.05 milliseconds, without dealing desk intervention and requotes, as well as with super low trading costs.
Trusted by over 73,000 traders around the world, Pepperstone processes an average of USD12.55 billion of trading volumes every day. Because of that, they have many awards such as:
- The Best Global Forex ECN Broker 2019 and Best Forex Trading Support-Europe
- Best Australian Broker and Best Trading Platform 2018 by Compareforexbrokers.com
- Best Forex ECN Broker, Best Forex Trading Support, and Best Forex Trading Conditions by UK Forex Awards 2018
With the many rewards gained, Pepperstone hopes to attract more and more traders from all over the world. The rising performance of Pepperstone is not only due to the super-tight spreads and fast execution that it provides, but also because many traders are interested in trading with deposits in currencies other than US Dollars.
For this reason, Pepperstone is one of the most market-responsive brokers because it is willing to accept deposits in 10 currencies, which include AUD, USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, JPY, NZD, SGD, and HKD.
Trading in Pepperstone would allow traders to choose between 11 trading platforms: MT4 for desktop, MT4 Mac, MT4 iPhone, MT4 Android, MT4 iPad/Tablet, MT5, WebTrader, cTrader WebTrader, cTrader cAlgo, and cTrader Mobile. The choice of trading platforms may seem confusing to novice traders, but actually, it is very useful because it has fast execution.
When trading forex, traders can enjoy raw spreads from 0.0 pips on Razor accounts, over 61 currency pairs, and commission-free account funding on a wide range of deposit options. In addition to currency pairs, Pepperstone provides many types of trading instruments, including CFDs for indices and shares, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.
Instruments in commodity trading are pretty much diversified. Not only metal, gold, and silver, but traders can also trade with soft commodities such as cotton, sugar, coffee, cocoa, and orange juice. Pepperstone also provides trading on energy (oil and gas).
There are two types of accounts provided by Pepperstone, namely Razor accounts, and Standard accounts. If you area beginner, it is recommended to choose a Standard account with an average EUR/USD spread of 1.0-1.3 pips and free commission.
Those with particular trading styles such as scalpers and algorithmic traders may enjoy the lower cost setup traditionally seen in a Razor account, with a commission from AUD7 round turn of 100k traded. The initial deposit starts at USD200 with a minimum lot of 0.01 (micro) and 1:500 leverage.
As a Pepperstone client, a trader can fund and withdraw with alternative methods including Visa, Mastercard, POLi internet banking, bank transfer, BPay, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, and Union Pay.
If you are new to trading or looking to practice your trading strategies in a risk-free environment, you can create Demo Account in Pepperstone. But if you are an experienced trader or prefer to learn by doing, Pepperstone provides a Live Account that allows you to trade with live executions and pricing.
Traders can also follow and copy strategies from popular traders using third-party services while learning how to improve their trading abilities. Pepperstone has partnered with a range of social trading platforms that traders can choose from, such as Myfxbook, ZuluTrade, Mirror Trader, MetaTrader signals, and Duplitrade.
IG Group provides online trading in real stocks and financial derivatives (such as CFD and forex) for both institutional and retail traders. The UK-based company is established in 1974 and listed in London Stock Exchange. Uniquely, IG does not accept clients from the US of A although they do have UK and US licenses. No worries if you are not a US resident, because IG accepts clients from virtually anywhere else in the world.
US traders are welcome
IG Markets is an online trading provider with decades of experience in the financial market. Founded in 1974, the world-leading company has gathered more than 178,000 clients worldwide with over 16,000 markets reached as of 2019. IG Markets is authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). It is also important to note that being established in 1974 makes IG Markets one of the forefront online CFD brokers. Their service has expanded to 15 countries across five continents.
Aside from famous for its reliable experience, IG Markets is also known for its truly broad range of trading instruments. In fact, the broker has long been regarded as one of the most accomplished companies in offering the most trading assets to clients. The wide choice of instruments includes forex pairs, 26 indices, over 12,000 shares, hard and soft commodities, cryptocurrencies, as well as other markets such as bonds, rates, and options.
Forex trading in IG Markets is provided in two ways: CFD and DMA (Direct). Here are the conditions for each type of trading:
- Minimum spread: 0.6 pips
- Commission: None
- Platforms: Web, mobile apps, MT4, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, terminals and APIs
- Trading size: Contracts
- Demo account: Yes
- Minimum spread: No details
- Commission: from $10 per $1 million traded
- Platforms: Web, mobiles apps, L2 Dealer, terminals, and APIs
- Trading size: Lots
- Demo account: No
Both ways of trading are available for all clients. However, DMA does not enable trading in MetaTrader 4. Clients are also not allowed to trade in a demo account for virtual trading. It is essentially a type of trading reserved for experienced traders with high necessity for the best pricing in the market, as DMA offers market depth from a range of exchanges (including full market depth from the LSE).
Trading platforms in IG Markets are accessible via web, mobile app, and desktop. They are offered with 2 main varieties: Core Platforms and Specialist Platforms. The core platform is meant for all types of trading with the add-ons of DMA, ProRealTime access, and Forex Direct. Meanwhile, Specialist Platforms consist of L2 Dealer, ProRealTime, and MetaTrader 4.
The first two platforms charge fees that include minimum $2000 balance and monthly fees for shares data and level 2 prices (for L2 Dealer), as well as platform fees amounting to $40 per month and monthly fee for shares data (for ProRealTime).
IG Markets does not require a minimum balance to open an account. It also provides a swap-free account that frees clients for any interest, rollover, or swap charges on overnight positions. Yet, All costs and charges are built into the spread. This account suits well with long-term traders who need to keep their positions open for days or even weeks.
For beginners, IG Markets builds an IG Academy that gives interactive education and online trading courses. This way, clients can get a grip on the financial markets with the essentials of trading provided in infographics, video explainers, and end-of-course quizzes. Even better, the IG Academy is already integrated into its mobile app so clients can always learn about financial markets in much more efficient ways.
In conclusion, IG Markets is a client-friendly broker with more than 40 years of experience to back up its credibility. Their efforts and commitments to provide the best varieties of trading platforms are proven in the unique Core and Specialist Platforms.
Traders with little experience can apply to Forex CFD account in either Core Platforms or MetaTrader 4, while professionals can achieve the best experience in the financial market with IG Market's DMA trading and L2 Dealer or ProRealTime platforms.